The stillness of the University of Washington campus was broken on Saturday, February 13 by excited Socialist activists gathering from all across the Pacific Northwest. Discussion about the need for a revolution against the Billionaire class rang in the halls at the largest and most dynamic Seattle Convention of Socialist Alternative to date; over 100 members packed into a UW classroom for the day-long convention.
The morning was filled with analysis of the current world political situation, reviewing 2015 and looking forward to new struggles in 2016. International highlights included the horrific crisis in Mexico; South African student and miner’s protests; and the continued development of new left political formations across Europe. Domestic perspectives focused on emerging struggles including the contract negotiations of the Chicago Teachers Union, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the increasing enthusiasm around Bernie Sanders. These struggles are marked by a growing radicalization of youth and young women in particular, and point towards a potential fracturing of the U.S. two-party system.
Bryan Watson, former finance director of the Sawant campaign, delivered a blistering financial appeal about the importance of remaining financially independent as a party which brought in more than $4,250. Another $1,600 was raised in fighting fund through a variety of excellent branch initiatives including food, literature, and t-shirts.
The afternoon session featured debate and voting on the proposed priorities moving forward in the coming year. After three hours of discussion, amendments, and debate, Socialist Alternative voted in its priorities for the new year: a bold intervention in the Bernie Sanders campaign, growing the socialist movement in Seattle, and continuing to participate in the fight for affordable housing and to solve the horrific homelessness crises quickly spiraling out of control in Seattle.
Also on the agenda were fast paced workshops on Marxist methods of revolutionary change and analysis, as well as caucus meetings for women and people of color. Of course, no Socialist Alternative gathering would be complete without a chant, and as the convention’s curtain drew, a chorus of “We are unstoppable! A socialist world is possible!” rolled out from Miller Hall and across the rainy UW campus.